The Miners Strike

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  • Created on: 23-03-18 10:14
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  • The Miners Strike
    • The Strike
      • May 1984, Scargill organised pickets to protest pits that stayed open.
      • National Association of Colliery Overmen, Deputies and Shotfirers (NACODS) didn't strike = anger and resentment.
      • Strike was illegal - gov. confiscated NUM funds and employed MI5 officers to infiltrate NUM and stay one step ahead of the miners.
      • Police officers sent to police the strikes , their present provoked confrontation, some argued police were an army of occupation. Violent clashes with the police.
    • Long term causes
      • NUM (National Union of Miners) one of strongest unions in the country. Thatcher waited until second term to confront them.
        • Wanted to show that the elected gov. ran Britain, not the unions.
      • NUM brought down Conservative gov. of 1974. Battle had historic roots.
      • 1978-79 'Winter of Discontent'  turned public opinion against unions - Thatcher felt she had public backing.
      • Nicholas Ridley introduced measures  for dealing with unions (NUM)
        • Laws against secondary action.
        • Alternative sources of power so country wasn't dependent on coal.
        • Reserves of stock so the country couldn't be held ransom.
    • Short term causes
      • Triggered by Thatchers determination to reform mining and union rights.
        • Coal industry nationalised - government controlled British Coal.
      • Thatcher appointed Canadian business man Ian Macgregor to be head of the Coal board.
      • Thatcher was determined to reduce state subsidies to the mining industry.
        • Taxpayers money has no place propping up unprofitable pits.
        • Pit closures - devastating to mining communities & majority of adult men employed in mines.
      • MacGregor had plans to cut subsidies and close 20 pits.
        • Arthur Scargill - well-known left-winger determined to fight for coal and win.
          • Claimed MacGregor was really going to close 70 pits )documents released later confirmed this).
            • Scargill responded to the threat by announcing the strike.
    • Impact of the strike
      • A turning point in British industrial relations.
      • Trade Union militancy defeated. Gov. was committed to enforcing union laws.
      • NUM lost 84% of members.
      • Thatchers success allowed gov. to attack union rights.
        • Laws introduced in 1988,89,90 & 93 reduced the rights of unions.
      • Reduction in union power = reduction in union membership. Union membership declined 40%.
      • Anti-union public support = Labour distanced themselves from unions.
      • Reduced the size of mining industry.
        • 94 pits out of 170 closed.
      • Gov. showed they were prepared to deal with opposition in un-compromising manner.
        • Thatcher was rewarded for her hardline approach and heightened authority.


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